Maple Leaf Foods and their Real Foods campaign: Give me a break!

Oh, Maple Leaf Foods, how could you do it again? How could you use kids to scare parents into buying your products? First, there was your commercial of a few years ago, where poor Dylan sat alone in the neighbourhood and could not eat hot dogs until you came out with your Natural Selections.

No matter that these hotdogs still contained nitrates, the very compounds that parents were trying to avoid when steering clear of processed meats. You got around it by putting cultured celery extract-the source of the very same compound-in the ingredient list. You stated that you didn’t put artificial preservatives in these products.

Once again, you are taking advantage of the concerns of parents by embarking on your campaign of “Real Food”. This campaign includes a commercial with kids in a spelling bee showing they can’t spell some of the ingredients on the label of processed and ultra-processed foods. Just take a look.

My reaction is give me a break!

While there’s no doubt we should be eating more whole foods and fewer ultra-processed foods, the last time I checked bacon and hot dogs, with or without artificial ingredients, still fit into that category. They are indeed ultra-processed foods.

One of the big concerns (there are numerous ones, though) is the amount of sodium they contain. Excess sodium is a huge health problem as it is linked to hypertension and heart and kidney disease and stroke – just to name a few major ills.

I bet, though, that the kids in the spelling bee could easily spell sodium.

S-O-D-I-U-M

Yes, this ingredient is way up there on the list of nutritional concerns and issues. Some countries, such as Britain, have enacted regulations to help their citizens slash their sodium intakes. Here in Canada, where many health groups have long advocated that legislation be introduced to help Canadians decrease their sodium intakes (we consume about double the recommended daily quotas), we have companies like Maple Leaf Foods embarking on campaigns to get us to trust that their products are better for us.

To refresh your memory or in case you didn’t know, years ago, Health Canada appointed an expert committee to look at the issue. The Sodium Working Group, as the group was known, suggested that lowering our intake by about 1,800 mg per day would prevent 23,500 cardiovascular disease events each year – that’s a decrease of 13%. The direct health care savings, alone, would add up to $1.38 billion per year, and if you include indirect costs, the savings would be $2.99 billion per year.

Check out this real food which doesn’t contain ingredients kids might have a tough time spelling.

Note the 880 milligrams of sodium in a 100-gram serving. That’s more than half the recommended 1500 milligrams per day – in just one food alone.

Yup, once again Maple Leaf Foods is trying to hoodwink Canadians into thinking their products are more wholesome. Let’s tell them we’re smarter than that.

#GiveMeABreakMapleLeafFoods

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Categories: Children's Health, Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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